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Tempe Streetcar begins service on roads along ASU campus

After four years of construction and $200 million spent, the Tempe Streetcar is now open and will be free for its first year of operation

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The new Tempe StreetCar in transit for the first time on Apache Blvd. on Friday, May 20, 2022.

Tempe Streetcar, a new addition to the city's transportation network, took its first run Friday morning.

The Tempe City Council approved the $200 million streetcar proposal in April 2016, and construction began in 2018.

With 14 stations and two connections to the Valley Metro Rail, the Tempe Streetcar runs a 3-mile route on Mill and Ash avenues from Rio Salado Parkway and Marina Heights to Dorsey Lane and Apache Boulevard, the Tempe Streetcar website says.

Passengers riding the new Tempe StreetCar on Apache Blvd. on Friday, May 20, 2022.

Rather than having its own track like the light rail, the Tempe Streetcar's rails share the roads with vehicle traffic. 

In a tweet on Saturday, one day after the streetcar's opening, Valley Metro announced the streetcar was "temporarily suspended due to a collision." About half an hour later, Valley Metro tweeted that streetcar service was restored.

The streetcar was funded jointly by ASU, the City of Tempe, the Federal Transit Administration, a half-cent sales tax approved by Tempe voters in 1996 for transit expansion, and a mix of private investors. It was originally planned to be completed in mid-2021, but was delayed in the process of manufacturing and distributing the vehicles.

READ MORE: Tempe Streetcar will open in 2022 with uncertain transit benefits 

A sign that signifies which stop is coming up next on the new Tempe StreetCar on Friday, May 20, 2022.

The streetcar will run from 6 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. It will arrive at stops every 15 to 20 minutes, according to the Valley Metro Streetcar Transit schedule.

The Tempe Streetcar will also be free for all riders for the first year of its operation, Valley Metro said in a news release on April 28.

Before the streetcar began its first run on Friday, multiple local leaders and elected officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

"It will connect Tempe and Arizona State University to fast, convenient car-free options for nearly 55,000 students at the main campus," region nine administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, Ray Tellis, said.

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Jasmine KabiriAssignment Editor

Jasmine Kabiri is the assignment editor at The State Press, overseeing and editing stories produced by the six digital desks. She has previously worked as a reporter at The Daily Camera and Cronkite News.

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